How I Feel About Everything Ever, Or Why You Should Stop Changing Your Profile Pictures

I can’t claim to be a part of any real minority. I grew up in a lot of ghetto Florida neighboorhoods, and my parents were pretty broke, but I didn’t realize that living at the Ronald McDonald House or in a shelter was strange when I was little, and by the time I knew that that wasn’t how other people lived, I was almost old enough to be out on my own.

I’m not very ethnic or diverse — I’m half Argentinian on my father’s side, and half European mutt on my mom’s (with a little bit of Cherokee!, she always likes to add, as if that makes me any less white). I look like any other white girl on the planet, except my features are a little more “other”, although most people can’t quite put their finger on what, if anything, it is.  I’m not bilingual, I’ve never been out of the country. I have siblings and cousins and even a gorgeous new niece in Argentina, but I’ve never hugged them or had dinner with them.

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Clockwise from top left: My stepmom, dad, uncle, cousin, aunt, other cousin, me, little sister. My uncle’s family moved to Georgia from Argentina awhile back, this was from about five years ago when they visited us in Florida.

I am, for all intents and purposes, just another regular American girl. I experience the same disadvantages they do, like being hit on by skeevy upper management guys or being looked down on in favor of a male employee who might do a worse job than I do but wasn’t born with tits so that is automatically a +500.

I also deal with the same advantages of living as a girl in America — Sometimes my drinks are free, I’m more likely to be let into a busy intersection with a flirty wave at a truck driver and I’ll sometimes be given a seat on public transportation or on public benches by chivalrous males trying to prove their mannish manliness by how easily they can stand while this poor woman rests her weary limbs.

I’m not saying it’s productive or right or acceptable, but it is what it is and if some weird guy’s inner battles result in me getting to sit on my ass, then so be it!

The worst part of all this, however, is that when you’re fairly young-looking, are overly friendly, and are anywhere, ever, that means that somebody, somewhere is allowed to preach to you. You can be in the grocery store line, or a drive-thru window, or a pawn shop. You can be at the beach, at the bank or at the post office. You can be in your room, on your bed, watching television when you hear your phone ring and did you know that your phone number is on a national database to call and offer surveys pertaining to the Future of America*?

* I don’ t know if such a thing exists, I totally made that up.

I’m not actually sure if my age or gender or friendliness have anything to even do with it, but I do know that every time I go somewhere, I get an earful from at least one person about what I should be doing, feeling, thinking, believing in. I should vote for this guy, I should support this organization, I should fight for these rights. I should donate to this cause, I should repent all my sins, I should quit smoking.

Sometimes it’s impossible to even wrap my head around what I am thinking and what I am feeling, and not what everything else tells me to. From the news to social media to people standing around with signs at a red light that say things like FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS and I VOTED FOR OUR NEXT CITY COUNCILMAN, DID YOU? No, lady, I didn’t. I just went to McDonald’s for a fucking cheeseburger, I didn’t even know there was a city council, go away.

While I understand that these people are trying to support things they all believe in, it’s also made completely evident by their responses when I explain that I am not interested that they think I am bad and wrong and horrible for not being on their same wavelength.  And this is a shameful way to be, because people should be able to feel what they feel and believe what they believe, so long as it isn’t hurting anyone.

Not supporting gay marriage, no matter how offensive you may find that, is not the same thing as shouting it from the rooftops or picketing wedding venues. Just because you don’t agree with their beliefs doesn’t mean you should make them feel awful about themselves if they’re keeping it to themselves and not trying to make gay people everywhere renounce their orientation.

I’m not saying I believe in that (and I’ll get to all of that later), but what I am saying is that people are diverse. I am one normal white girl who grew up in America and only speaks English, and I have a WIDE range of opinions on things. The opinions I have don’t make me lesser than anyone else I may meet; similarly, they don’t make me better, either.  If I’m asked to defend my beliefs, I will. But if I’m not, and the only thing that will serve as an outcome from me sharing those opinions is upsetting someone else and making another person feel bad, I will not.

Not everyone needs to act this way. I’m not saying that doing so will be better than not doing so, I’m just saying that I’d much rather have a respectful discussion about politics or abortion over dinner than a heated debate in the check-out line of the 7-11 on the corner with a guy in camo and a hat that says JOHN DEERE.

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I believe that everybody should be able to get married if they want to, regardless of  race or gender or sexual orientation or religion.

I believe that marijuana should be legalized and that the same kinds of precautions and laws should be put into effect for it that are used for alcohol laws; no operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, etc.

I do not think prostitution should be illegal. I believe that sex is a natural thing and if a person wants to use something as inane as slapping a few body parts together for a hundred bucks so she can feed her three year old, she should be able to.

And in relation to that, I think there should be more support from the government for single mothers, out of work parents, struggling people in general. Because of the way I grew up, I am an enormous advocate for government assistance for people having difficult times. Downtown Orlando alone as over 5,000 homeless people, according to the census taken by state officials in 2012, and that isn’t even counting the 6,000+ families who live in weekly rented hotel rooms.

This is disgusting, and one of the things I’m most passionate about. With people like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton spending billions of dollars on ass implants, there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON that there should be even one thousand human beings in the WORLD who don’t have a safe place to live, let alone over 5,000  in one single city. I can’t even put into words how appalling that is to me, personally, as someone who has lived that way and has known other, struggling, good people who are living that way.

I can’t even talk about that, I’ll go on a huge tangent, I digress.

I do believe in gender equality. I get that you’re all big, strong, tough men. That’s great. I’d like to see you squeeze a human being out of your privates. Then you can talk to me about why you deserve to be making more money for the same damn job.

I also don’t believe that I have any more of a right to be here than a 28-year-old Mexican male that sneaks in through the border to work harder than I do and receive shitty pay so he can send it back to his family. It’s abhorrent that I live in a county that literally makes it illegal for another person, who could be born just miles away from the border, to create a better life for themselves and for the family they’re expected to support.

America was supposed to be the LAND OF THE FREE. It’s gotten so side tracked by holding other countries and people down and shouting arrogantly about how great it is that it has stopped progressing, and has even begun to backtrack. Unemployment rates are at an all time high. Homelessness is going up every year, people are suffering every single second of every single day.  It is bigger than changing your photo on Facebook, people. Wake up.

I believe in all equality, really. Gender, racial, religious, sexual orientation, marriage, everything. We are all human beings. We all deserve to be treated with respect, with honesty, with kindness. I am a 24 year old white female born and raised in Florida. I am no more deserving of health insurance, or a job, or a home than anybody else in the world. And neither are you.

So before you wake up tomorrow morning and get dressed and worry about things like your car’s oil change or your next salon appointment, why don’t you do some research and find out what’s really happening out there? Why don’t you get off your high horses and come back down to reality, where changing your profile picture for a week won’t actually do anything, but a $50 donation to your local homeless shelter might give a family food to eat?

My blog isn’t typically about this stuff. I apologize if any of this offends you, because that is honestly not my intention. I just feel like it’s very hard to relate to other people sometimes, and I feel like there is a barrier between me and them because there is so much else going on and so much at stake for our futures and the future of our children and their children and their children’s children and really, I’d much rather see someone taking affirmative action than posting their lunch to Instagram anyway.

I’m not going to shove my beliefs down your throat, and I won’t trash talk you if your opinions differ from mine. You’re your own person, you can believe what you want. But if we do share any similar opinions, here are a couple of places you can check out. These are organizations I personally donate to or have an investment in, and ones I support.

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The Joyful Heart Foundation — Founded by Mariska Hargitay of Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit, The Joyful Heart Foundation works to foster a community that turns toward the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.  ssues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. Such a community, empowered with knowledge, courage and compassion, can support survivors of this violence and engage in an open dialogue about how to collaboratively end the cycle of violence and abuse.

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Ronald McDonald House Charities — The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. I lived here for awhile when I was 10 years old after my youngest brother passed away. The Ronald McDonald House in Orlando offers lodging for families with sick children in the nearby hospital, so they aren’t forced to shell out tons of money on a hotel while they’re with their child and already paying for expensive hospital bills.

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Coalition for the Homeless — Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children. They are dedicated to the principle that affordable housing, sufficient food, and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society.

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The Greater Good — This is a great resource for various other causes and ways that you can help. If you look around, you’re guaranteed to find something to feel passionate about.

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